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How to Write a Job Description for a Sales Position


Every moment a sales job is open at your company, you’re losing money. Salespeople serve the essential role of generating revenue and maintaining important customer relationships. A missing salesperson means missed opportunities.

That’s why it’s important to have a well-crafted sales job description on hand at all times. When someone departs, you can immediately begin advertising for your next sales superstar.

The Employer's Guide to Hiring Salespeople

Here are some tips for writing a job description for a sales position.

Speak the Language of Job Seekers

Job descriptions are usually written in straightforward - even boring - language. That’s fine for internal use, but you’ll need to make sure the description is still interesting enough for active job seekers when it’s posted publicly.

Certain traits will connect strongly with salespeople. In your job description, address things like:

  • Freedom in work hours

  • Autonomy to work independently

  • Income potential

  • Communication requirements

  • Tech knowledge that might be essential

  • Need for flexibility and adaptability in the position

Make it Specific to Your Industry

The person in this sales job will be held accountable to revenue goals, so this should be addressed directly in the job description. Avoid being too general, or you’ll just end up with bad matches for the job.

Let’s say you’re writing a description for a job selling veterinary pharmaceuticals to vet clinics in three states. Instead of saying “meet sales goals” as one of the requirements of the job, be more specific. Say “meet or exceed last year’s veterinary pharmaceutical sales for the role’s tri-state territory.”

Also, emphasize the qualities of the job that take it beyond being just sales. Communicate the company’s higher vision. For the veterinary pharmaceuticals job, point out that the sales role has potential to help local animals and pet owners. The right candidate would have a special fondness for animals, plus a stellar sales background.

Seek Input From Other Salespeople

Another way to ensure you’re writing a great job description is to ask for input from other people in the role. For full honesty, you can even reach back out to salespeople who left your company in the past.

Ask questions like:

  • What do you consider to be the #1 role of this job?

  • How did the job description differ from what you actually did/do?

  • Is there anything missing that we should put in the job description going forward?

Their answers could surprise you. The salespeople might feel that the job had more paperwork than they expected, or they didn’t know there would be so many apps they had to install on their cell phones. Incorporate this feedback into the job description.

Think About Your Wish List

Every job description is a blend of ideal candidate qualities and the minimum acceptable qualifications. It’s okay to shoot for the stars, but you’ll need a way to sort through less-qualified candidates too - in case those are the only applications you’re getting.

What are the absolute deal-breakers for the position? Maybe it’s 2 solid years of sales experience. Maybe it’s proof of meeting sales goals at a previous company. Whatever your minimum acceptable qualifications are, they should be specified in the description.

Address Teamwork, Leadership, and Culture

Don’t forget to address the bigger issues of the role within your company, like teamwork. It’s rare that a salesperson works solo 100% of the time. Your salesperson will join a sales team, and that team fits within the larger culture of the entire organization.

Include what’s required of them in terms of attending company meetings, joining conference calls, and being part of a cohesive team. How should this person interact in groups? If you don’t address it up front, you might end up with a lone wolf who doesn’t know how to work as part of the pack.

Hire for Personality

It’s essential that a salesperson’s personality matches the job - and it’s a myth that salespeople must be extroverts. The personality factors involved in sales are more complex and nuanced than that.

Salespeople need to be open, driven, resilient, and capable of forming long-lasting friendships. They also need a big dose of humility and a good sense of humor. These qualities make them attractive to your clients, who then have a positive view of your company.

To learn more about hiring for the right sales personality, connect with SelectOne and download our free guides, True Match: Hiring For Personality and The Employer’s Guide to Hiring Salespeople. We’ll help you ensure your company hires the right salespeople, every time.

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